Taking the Antoinette Perrys as our inspiration, we theatre lovers at the Reader have decided that Our Show Must Go On, too. So even though we've been given far fewer titles to choose from than usual, with our own categories and the excellent work within abbreviated out of necessity, we happily welcome you, ladies and gentlemen, to the Fifth-Annual Reader Tony Awards!

The plot for Waiting for Godot, currently running at Moline’s Black Box Theatre, is rather simple: Two men wait near a tree for the infamous Godot. It’s unclear how many days they’ve already been waiting, or how much longer the wait will take. How the men pass time makes up the meat of this story, and Samuel Beckett’s absurdist classic ultimately grapples with the age-old question: What does it all mean?

It’s been a painfully long wait, but I finally got to crack open my new notebook and fresh pen for Wednesday night's performance of The Savannah Sipping Society at the Circa '21 Dinner Playhouse.

A hearty welcome to the theatre fans and theatre-curious among you – it's time for the Fourth-Annual Reader Tony Awards!

At Tuesday's preview performance of the Mississippi Bend Players' The Santaland Diaries at Augustana College, I had everything I needed for a respite from the relentless, forced holiday cheer outside. I had my seat in a cozy venue among a small passel of students revved up for their imminent academic break. I had a play by David Sedaris, one of my favorite writers. I had another lovely (and festively sparkly) Augustana set to gaze at, this one by technical director and scenic/lighting designer Mark Lohman. I had Keenan Odenkirk, one of my favorite actors. I had my cynical holiday exasperation dialed up to eight. It was the perfect storm.

From the moment I entered the QC Theatre Workshop for Friday's opening-night performance of The Goat, or Who Is Sylvia?, my head was in a different place than ever before – literally, as the stage and the seating had swapped places since my last visit. From the moment the final spotlight died, my head has been in a different place figuratively. Edward Albee's show, which debuted on Broadway in 2002 and won that year's Tony for Best Play, stirred thoughts and ideas that I'm still pondering.

Move over Romeo and Juliet – there are new star-crossed lovers in town. The QC Theatre Workshop’s latest production, Gruesome Playground Injuries, explores both pain and possibility in a tale of lifelong friendship and love.

The Mississippi Bend Players' third season opened on Friday with Neil Simon's Biloxi Blues, a tribute to our military veterans and all the brave men and women who currently serve this great country. This second installment in Simon's semi-autobiographical comedic trilogy – one that begins with Brighton Beach Memoirs and concludes with Broadway Bound – had me rifling through my purse to find a tissue to dry my eyes, given that they were watering so much from laughter. Director and St. Ambrose University theatre professor Cory Johnson, who also gave us MBP's Brighton Beach in 2017, delivered a hilarious show that was not only extremely funny, but touched on some very serious subject matter.

"All for one and one for all!" This is the heartfelt cry and motto of the famously swashbuckling musketeers that echoed throughout the Brunner Theatre Center auditorium in January 25's opening-night performance. Swordplay abounded as Augustana College's company of actors and stage crew presented the adventurous tales of playwright Ken Ludwig's The Three Musketeers, and the sword fights choreographed by director Jeff Coussens were superbly done, making for quite a lively evening.

You asked for 'em! You're getting 'em!

Okay, fine, none of you officially asked for them. But 'tis the season of giving, so-o-o-o … .

Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to the Third-Annual Reader Tony Awards!

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